Some of you might have noticed that I do not like President Gloria Arroyo. Count me among the near majority of Filipinos (50%) who distrust her (in contrast to only 21% who say that she is trustworthy) as well as the 48% who disapprove of her performance as President (as against only 25% who approve of her). I believe that she cheated in the last presidential elections and she should have resigned two years ago when her cheating became public knowledge.
I also do not like her policies particularly her blind allegiance to globalization and her moves to open up the mining industry to foreign interests. Lastly, I believe that it is still best for Gloria to either resign or be removed from office. If this will not happen, we can kiss goodbye any transfer of presidential power in 2010. She is THAT afraid to relinquish power as she knows fully well that once she is out of office, she will be made to account for her usurpation of the presidency and for her many corrupt acts to ensure her political survival.
But let us give credit where credit is due. One of the good things about Gloria is that she does not confine herself in Manila but goes around the country. Of all the Philippine Presidents, she may have set a record in terms of the number of out-of-Manila travels. In fact, this may be one of the reasons why she continues to occupy Malacañang as she manages to get the support of the local executives that she meets in her many trips outside the capital.
Interestingly, it seems like Gloria likes to visit Sagada every time I decide to go home. (He he, parang ako ang dahilan ano.) This happened last December when I went home for the holidays. It also happened last December 2005 and one Holy Week period, I think also in 2005.
So what did Gloria do during the times she was in Sagada? And what do Sagada people say of her visits?
Understandably, some iSagadas are flattered that Gloria appears to like their town. She even seems to like it more that Bontoc since, during her last visit, she spent three hours in Sagada and only one hour in Bontoc despite the fact that the purpose of her visit was to lead the government service caravan in Bontoc. (Maybe we should interpret this to mean that Gloria would rather do touristy stuff rather than serve the people. He he. ) I sympathize with those people in Bontoc who really prepared for the presidential visit only to have their preparations snubbed.
On the other hand, although iSagadas are somewhat flattered with the President’s visits, it is safe to say that her visits hardly made an impact on Sagada’s sense of itself. People know she is in town but went on with their business. There were no over-the-top preparations to welcome and to please the visitor. In fact, I doubt if the President’s visits will land in Sagada’s top events of the year if one is making a list of such events.
To be continued…
Photo credit: The Philippine Information Agency.